I actually made this version of mac and cheese back in the middle of summer, but it’s definitely the kind of dish that just screams autumn. It’s got this awesome smoky flavor from the fire-roasted tomatoes and smoked cheddar cheese. Smoke makes me think of bonfires, and bonfires make me think of fall. See how that logic works? :)
The only thing that could improve this mac and cheese in any way would be about half a pound of bacon. I know, I know, I always want to put bacon in everything, but just look at the title of this recipe: “Smoky Macaroni and Cheese.” This dish is definitely meant to contain bacon.
Next time I may try mixing up the smoked cheeses I used, too. When I was buying the smoked cheddar for this recipe (usually in the specialty cheese case at the grocery store, and take some time to look for it; it’s most likely there, just hidden), I noticed smoked provolone and smoked gouda, which I think would also be amazing in this. And don’t even get me started on smoked fresh mozzarella. Mmmm, smoky deliciousness!
Okay, now I want a huge bowl of this to eat. While sitting beside a bonfire. On a crisp fall evening.
Smoky Macaroni and Cheese
source: slightly adapted from Betty Crocker
1 pound uncooked elbow macaroni
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground red cayenne pepper
8 ounces smoked cheddar cheese, shredded (2 cups)
1 28-ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, well drained
1/4 cup sliced green onions (4 medium)
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/3 cup Italian-style breadcrumbs
2 teaspoons olive oil
1. Cook and drain macaroni as directed on box. Return to saucepan; cover to keep warm.
2. Meanwhile, heat oven to 375 degrees. Spray 13 x 9-inch glass baking dish with cooking spray. In 2-quart saucepan, heat whipping cream, mustard, salt and red pepper to boiling. Reduce heat; stir in Cheddar cheese with wire whisk until smooth.
3. Pour sauce over macaroni. Stir in tomatoes and onions. Pour into baking dish. In small bowl, mix Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs. Stir in oil. Sprinkle over top of macaroni mixture.
4. Bake uncovered 15 to 20 minutes or until edges are bubbly and top is golden brown.